East Lansing, MI
The #5 Michigan State Spartans played host to the #3 Ohio State Buckeyes tonight here at the Breslin Center. Tom Izzo had a brilliant game plan that shut down Spartan nemesis and Buckeye guard Aaron Craft. Well for 33 minutes anyway.
The Spartans led by as many as 17 with 7:06 remaining, but like Auburn last night in the Football National Championship game, the Spartans got sloppy when up big. Unlike Auburn the Spartans didn’t lose, but it was an overtime thriller!
MSU somehow and someway looked lethargic, confused and lost as the game wound down. On a night when the Spartans mirrored a M*A*S*H* unit more than national champion. Adreian Payne didn’t start with more foot troubles, Travis Trice was out ill and Keith Appling could hardly walk and the Spartans best player Gary Harris was limping. Still the Spartans won on the second top five tilt in Breslin Center history.
A frustrated Izzo said he said some players, “Who played like little boys.” He went on to add, “I wasn’t pleased with a few things. I didn’t like the way it was called and I didn’t like the way we responded the last seven minutes. They killed us on the boards because we had a couple guys that didn’t show up. I am going to say a heroic effort by our seniors.”
Tom Izzo said afterward, “”I should be happier than I am.”
OSU head coach Thad Matta said, “I am proud we came back, but we were not as sharp as we need to be in this caliber of game. You can’t go on the road in this environment and have 21 turnovers. We didn’t have a flow to us offensively and that is amazing.”
Kenny Kaminski had nine big points on three three pointers. Needless to say Izzo was happy about that. Well kind of, “We said last year that Kenny is a hell of a shooter. He is going to be a good player. He can knock down shots. He is one of our best shooters. Kenny was a stabilizer and a decent defender.”
Keith Appling was the difference. He poured in 20 points, seven assists and five rebounds while playing 43 minutes. Izzo said of Appling’s play, ““You want to write a story, write it about his character and heart. He sucked it up.” Matta echoed the praise saying, “He’s a special player.”
The Spartans next game is Saturday at 2:15 here at the Breslin Center against Minnesota.